Remembering the Prentice Women’s Hospital Building


by Nathan Eddy

On October 29, 2013, an 8-minute documentary, The Absent Column, about the struggle to save the building from demolition, was released online after screening at the Durban International Film Festival, Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam and the Architecture & Design Film Festival New York. The film was produced and directed by Northwestern graduate Nathan Eddy and features interviews with Vanity Fair architecture critic Paul Goldberger, local Chicago preservation groups and Northwestern University. It played in Chicago in March 2014, when the building was almost completely gone.
Demolition of the building was completed in September 2014.
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/Text written in 2013/

Modern architecture, and the fight for its value in the world, is brought into sharp focus in this documentary examining the battle over the preservation of former Prentice Women’s Hospital in downtown Chicago, designed by master modern architect Betrand Goldberg.
The owner of the building is Chicago institution Northwestern University, which intends to demolish the unique brutalist building, composed of a nine-story concrete cloverleaf tower cantilevered over a rectangular five-story podium.
The stage is set for what some preservationists believe will be a defining moment in the battle to preserve modern architecture, and poses the question, Who determines the future of the past?
Source: Nathan Eddy’s profile on Vimeo